Creating new perspectives since 2009

Egypt increased death sentences in 2022, says rights group

February 14, 2023 at 11:53 am

Judge’s gavel in a courtroom [wp paarz/Flickr]

Egypt increased the number of death sentences in 2022, handing out 538 more than the previous year, according to the Egyptian Front for Human Rights.

Of these 538, 28 were executed in political cases and 510 in criminal cases. In 2021, Egypt was the third highest executioner, after China and Iran.

Last year the Court of Cassation and Military Appeals also upheld the death sentence against 39 people, according to the human rights organisation.

Authorities executed 30 people, seven in political cases and 23 in criminal cases.

Of the political cases, four people were executed after charges were brought against them in what was known as the “Helwan Microbus case,” in which they were charged with joining a banned group and killing eight police officers in Helwan in 2016

At the time human rights organisations, including the Committee for Justice, condemned the verdicts because of the trial’s lack of due process.

Defendants who were executed were severely tortured and forcibly disappeared to extract confessions.

READ: Egypt sentences man to death, 11 others to life on terror charges

CFJ also accused the government of extrajudicially killing four of the defendants as they were arrested.

Shortly afterwards, three people were executed in what became known as the “Soldiers of Egypt case”, after they allegedly attacked security forces in 2014 and 2015.

These defendants were also tortured to obtain confessions and they were interrogated in the absence of a lawyer.

“The death penalty in Egypt presents many problems,” the Egyptian Front said in a media briefing on the rising number of executions.

“Including its application to a wide range of crimes, not only serious crimes, and there is often a violation against the defendant’s right to obtain a fair trial, which are the guarantees stipulated in international covenants and treaties, especially in cases involving crimes that can be sentenced to death.”

Human rights organisations have long criticised the ease with which Egypt has handed out death penalties under President Abel Fattah Al-Sisi.

In March last year the UN called on Egypt to introduce a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.